The Sunshine State

Trip Start Dec 28, 2007
Trip End Aug 28, 2008

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Flag of United States  , Florida
Saturday, August 2, 2008

Our last week in the US and it's still hot! We landed to a cool 95 farenheit, picked up a car and headed out to the coast to spend the afternoon at the Kennedy Space Centre near Cape Canaveral. After taking a look around the grounds and the copy of a lunar landing module we got on their shuttle system to take a tour around the huge site. First stop was a very eye-opening film about the International Space Station, some of the stories behind space travel and the work that goes into completing such a thing which are all both fascinating and moving. Next we were taken to the Launch Complex where we had a look at the pads, the assembly buildings for the shuttle rockets and a drive past the huge tower where the rockets and shuttles are mounted together - it's huge! There is also a great view over the area which is basically a wildlife refuge and you can see the two skeletons which hold the shuttles up on lauch day. We then carried on to the Apollo and Saturn V centre where we watched some films about the missions and the people, saw the control room left as it was in the 60's after the last launch in the program and then a depiction of the lunar landing. And just as we thought we had seen it all we then entered a room, looked up and found ourseleves at the bottom of a 363ft moon rocket. Now this, for anyone who has never seen one, is big! Lying on it's side and split apart in sections we could see all the engines, cut out parts and the landing module thingy. Our last stop, having been past the landing strip and seen the big caterpiller tank platforms, was the actual International Space Centre building where all of the components from around the world are collated before sending into space. Neither of us are Space Geeks but we had a wonderful 5 hours there and could have easily spent more time exploring the exhibits and theatres. We ended the day with a drive through the main street in Orlando looking at all the holiday makers and found ourselves with good old fish and chips for dinner!

As you might imagine, having been up at 5am the day before, flown to Orlando, spent two hours on the road and 5 hours wandering a space centre we were kind of knackered, so Friday was a day to relax. After a look around one of the many shopping 'ma wlls ' we thought we would try out some crazy golf - there is a course nearly every 100m along the road! We found one which had a big exploding volcano and dinosaurs dotted around and started playing (well, bashing and hoping really) only to be greated at the 3rd hole by a downpour. Being so hot we didn't really mind the rain so carried on regardless. Was fun actually. Not wishing to exert ourslelves any further, and to avoid the persistant thunderstorms, we spent the afternoon in the cinema. Now, we were going to watch something exciting and blockbustery, like 'Journey to the Centre of the Earth' or the new Batman film, but both were showing in 3D and it meant having to wear silly glasses that make you look like some kind of divvy wierdo. So we opted for 'Space Chimps' which, as the name suggests, is an animated film about chimps that go to space. Not the most intellectual we know but good fun.

Over the weekend we spent some time admiring the beaches and affluant areas of Florida. We drove down the east coast to Fort Lauderdale and then across Aligator Alley to Naples which sits by the Gulf of Mexico. On the highway across the state the tarmac is flanked by large fields and waterways where those who can afford airboats fly up and down avoiding the fishermen. We were lucky enough to drive through some fantastic thunder and lightning storms and do some aligator spotting on the way - as we whizzed along the road it was possible to make out the heads of them popping above the surface of the water!
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